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Walter  BULLER


 Il luogotenente colonnello Walter Buller è passato alla storia per la famosa sfida con Culbertson che procurò ai bridgisti inglesi il loro infausto martedì nero, ma, in realtà, egli fu un personaggio di spicco del bridge britannico a cavallo tra l'ottocento ed il novecento.

 Nato il 30 luglio del 1887, si arruolò nel 1907 e partito come Staff Captain per la Francia nel 1914, tornò dalla guerra con il grado di Maggiore per poi ritirarsi dall'esercito con quello di colonnello nel 1923.

 A tutti i bridgisti inglesi era ben noto per la rubrica settimanale che tenne a lungo sulle colonne del London Star.

 Come giocatore era un bridgista di valore che ha disputato un incredibile numero di incontri in tutta l'Inghilterra perdendone solo uno! eppure, viene ricordato, più che altro, per le 200 mani dell'incontro perso nel 1930 con Ely Culbertson.

 La morte della moglie nel 1936 fu un per lui un colpo durissimo dal quale non si riprese mai completamente e alla quale fece seguito la sua scomparsa avvenuta il 21 maggio del 1938.

Lt. Col. Walter Buller (1886/7–1938), auction and contract bridge organiser, writer and player, was the leading British bridge personality at the start of the 1930s.

Buller joined the Army Service Corps in 1907, and served throughout WWI , first in France and then as a staff officer in the War Office . He retired from the army in 1923 and thereafter lived in London.

Buller was one of those responsible for contract bridge being adopted at the Portland Club , after the game and its new scoring system was brought to England by Lord Lascelles ( Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood ) and Jimmie Rothschild in 1927. 

The Portland Club, which regulated the laws of whist since early in the nineteenth century, remains the law-giving body for bridge in Britain, and has taken part in every subsequent revision of the laws of bridge.

In Buller's bridge career, and his weekly column for the Star, he was a showman whose motto was "Must do something to stir them up!". As such, he was the perfect foil to Ely Culbertson , the great publicist for contract bridge . Buller organised the first Anglo-American match against the Culbertson] team in 1930 and captained the English team. 

This match inaugurated the 'Golden Age' of contract bridge, leading to an extraordinary amount of publicity in the press. Culbertson, a genius as a publicist, created many small incidents for the benefit of the press and Buller did his best to provide quotable phrases in his interviews and his books.

Buller was the leading proponent of the direct bidding system called "British Bridge". It prided itself on having no conventional (artificial) bids. He was a bridge columnist, and wrote several books. Buller won won the first English National Pairs in 1932.

In the famous match at Almack's club the English team was Buller, Mrs Gordon Evers, Dr Nelson Wood-Hill FRCS and Cedric Kehoe RN. Mrs Gordon Evers was Walter Buller's favorite partner: "white-haired and striking, she had toured the US as an actress in Sir Herbert Tree 's company". The former world chess champion, Emanuel Lasker , reported the match for German and Austrian newspapers; he became a registered teacher of the Culbertson system.

The US team was Culbertson and his wife Josephine, Theodore Lightner and Waldemar von Zedwitz . All the members of the American team would be recognized as outstanding players in the years that followed. Both their partnerships were experienced and organized; the result of the match was not long in doubt. Culbertson won by 4,845 points over a week's play of 200 deals (total points scoring): not quite so bad for Buller as it might have been.

Later, in 1934, a match between Buller's team and Almack's Club was played, in which Almack's used ideas taken from Culbertson. 

"The Buller–Almacks bridge contest (the best contract bridge yet seen in this country)" discusses 76 of the 100 hands. Almack's won, knocking another nail in the coffin of Buller's system. The consequence was that direct and entirely natural bidding went out of favor, never to return. 

In the future, even natural bidding systems used detailed agreements and conventions.

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